The planets align on Rush Creek

Observers: Chris McCreedy
Remote Name:
Date: 07/18/2004
Time: 04:24 PM -0400


Funky birds at Rush today: A Long-eared Owl roosted on the apex of my taco-shaped tent last night. When I woke up this morning and shifted, the owl (which must have been sleeping) slipped 1/2-way down my tent, caught itself and flew off. On my way to my Jeep, I saw a dark morph juvenile Red-tailed Hawk seven feet high in a willow, with its head buried in its wing and its back to me. I tip-toed up to five feet away, it still slept. As gently as I could, I said 'Hawk, wake up hawk. Hey, hawk.' It lifted its head a little and eyed me groggily. Then it realized the situation and flew about twenty feet, where it was instantly mobbed by a family of shrikes. I felt guilty about that, but then the hawk left and the shrikes mobbed me. We were a little more even. I resighted the Magnolia Warbler (repleted with federal band) captured some time ago (2-3 weeks?)by River Gates and Heidi Black (PRBO). It was only about 150m from where they caught it. While it has probably been on Rush for the last 2-3 weeks, I have not seen any territorial behavior/singning. While I stood in a snag, I saw a female Chestnut-sided Warbler foraging only ten-twenty meters from the Magnolia Warbler. I'd say female because the crown was not particularly yellow, and the flanks were not superduper chestnut. This is the first CSWA I've seen (other than a hatch-year bird lost and doomed on Point Reyes), but they're pretty unmistakable. Gray neck with streaks, gray rump, green back, double wing bar. I also came across a lone White-faced Ibis roosting in an old willow, three Western Bluebirds flying over (I hardly ever see these in the Mono Basin), and a Juniper Titmouse. While somewhat commonplace in drier parts of the Mono Basin, to see a Juniper Titmouse in a rosefield on Rush is like seeing Ringo Starr at Von's. It was fun, but I'd give it all up if I could have found the last Willow Flycatcher nest, which has stumped me for nearly a week, and again today. How baffling!